Given the insane cost of college in the US, who can blame prospective students for trying to game out which career paths have the highest short-term payouts immediately after graduation?
To that end, the two men behind the website theinterviewguys.com (h/t to MarketWatch’s Quentin Fottrell) analyzed some data from the BLS’s Occupational Requirements Survey to glean some insights on which jobs offer the highest salaries to those who are just starting their careers post-graduation.
They found that in 2019, the highest-paying job for college graduates that required no previous work experience was being a pharmacist.
Roughly 64% of pharmacist job postings required no previous work experience in the field, while also carrying a median starting salary of $126,000 a year, more than twice the average wage in the US. Next up was another position in the health-care field: Nurse practitioner. 60% of job postings for nurse practitioners required no prior work experience, while advertising a median salary of $114,000.
Of course, the high median salaries in these fields aren’t an accident, or some kind of happy coincidence. Rather, students face a difficult curriculum during their undergrad years, plus at least some grad school. Pharmacy students must obtain a doctoral degree in pharmacy just to be eligible to enter the workforce, and they must also pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test.
Looking further down the income distribution, the pair found that high school teachers and special education teachers most often required no previous work experience (According to their research, the interview guys found that more than 91% of postings in those fields stipulated that no prior experience in the field was necessary).
However, median salaries for these teaching jobs came in at just over $60,000. Police patrol officers also ranked high on the list of jobs requiring no prior experience in the field (something that the SJWs will surely latch on to as an example of the rank injustices permeating the law-enforcement community). The median salary for patrol officer jobs came in at just over $65,400.
For college graduates, jobs offering high starting salaries with little required experience fall into a category that the study’s authors have dubbed “the sweet spot.” After all, one of the most infuriating struggles that recent grads face is surmounting the ‘experience’ barrier. Every year, hundreds of thousands of American students embark on unpaid or for-credit internships in the hopes of gaining precious work experience.
Some employers, in turn, have been castigated for taking advantage of this situation by relying on unpaid interns or “perma-interns” who receive pay, but no other benefits, for their work.
In many professional-class fields, jobs with low starting wages often lead to higher-paying positions after three or four years in the workforce.
And more often than not, jobs with a low barrier to entry pay much less than other positions. But with unemployment at 50-year lows, some jobs that were traditionally seen as menial or blue-collar labor are seeing upward pressure on wages as jobs like long-haul trucker and fast-food cook become increasingly difficult to fill.